Past Events

Since the beginning of Fall semester, the Department of Physics & Astronomy has been involved in many activities and events that have increased its visibility in the community, and helped strengthen internal relations as well.


Alumni Day

Oct 10, 2009
Henry Eyring Bldg
College of Science
50 Attendees

The Alumni Association of the College of Science presented the second annual Alumni Day as a way to reconnect its members with their home departments as well as to renew old friendships and make new friends. Short presentations were given by faculty, and posters were displayed from many of the research groups in Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Math, and Physics.
For more information visit

Science Day

Nov. 7, 2009
A. Ray Olpin University Union
800 Attendees

Science Day at the U attracted more than 800 students, parents, and educators from Idaho and Utah. There were 61 workshops covering 31 specific research topics presented by faculty from various departments under the College of Science, the College of Mines & Earth Sciences and the Utah Museum of Natural History. Students learned about career possibilities from scientists at Idaho Technology, Kennecott Utah Copper, and XMission, in a series of “Industry Workshops”. Students also received academic advice about specific majors, science-related careers, and undergraduate research offered by each department.
For more information visit

AGIS-Utah Collaboration Meeting

Nov. 13-14, 2009
University of Utah
Prof. Dave Kieda
50 Attendees

The AGIS collaboration is designing and preparing a proposal for a next-generation ground-based gamma-ray observatory: the Advanced Gamma Imaging System (AGIS). The observatory will consist of 36 telescopes of a Schwartzchild-Couder design, and will cover an area grater than a square kilometer. The Utah AGIS meeting was held to review the design and plan how to move the project into the Research and Development phase, after a successful endorsement by the DOE Particle Astrophysics Science Assessment Group (PASAG) in October 2009. Participants included scientists from two National Labs, NASA, and 11 universities.

Graduate Student Symposium

Nov. 14, 2009
University of Utah
Prof. Jordan Gerton
50 Attendees

The aim of the annual Graduate Student Symposium is to present all unaffiliated graduate students with an overview of all the research activities within the department so students can become more efficient at finding an advisor/group and a research project. Faculty with open research positions give short talks introducing their group’s research, providing a flavor of the possibilities within each group so students can make a connection between names and faces of faculty members, and identify groups of interest. All unaffiliated graduate students are required to attend (~20% of physics graduate students), but nearly half of the graduate student population attended, making the latest symposium a success.

Bolide Meteor Over Utah

Nov. 18, 2009
00:07 MST, Alt. 27 km
Terminal location: 40.286 N, -113.191 W.

A bright meteor in the night sky provided many Utah residents with a rare treat at exactly 12:07am on November 18, 2009. The Bolide meteor was part of the recent Leonid meteor shower that was also visible during that time. The fireball was reportedly seen over areas of South Eastern California, Northern Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Colorado. The shock from the final breakup triggered seven seismological stations in Northern Utah and an analysis of the seismic data revealed the meteor’s location above the Dugway Proving Grounds. Our new Willard L Eccles Observatory at Frisco Peak caught the meteor on security cameras, as it flew by and exploded. The footage (provided by Prof. Wayne Springer) as well as the story received both local and worldwide media attention, appearing on NBC’s “Today“ show, BBC News, and the Associated Press, among others.